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Tangled web

 

SOME of you might have noticed Dr Fiona Wood gracing the cover of a magazine that came with an edition of a national newspaper this weekend.

It was a subject entirely worthy of such national exposure from a publication generally regarded as having the highest standards.

But for those of you who read the piece, there was a little something missing: an acknowledgement of where the writer had heard the good doctor because the story appeared to mostly come from an event the author had attended.

In the opening paragraph, the author refers to a "business breakfast" and refers to the tall MC.

As I read the piece, I realised the event was one from our Success and Leadership series featuring Dr Wood and the MC was none other than Elton Swarts, a director of WA Business News.

It was at this stage I recalled some of the events team complaining about a late arrival barging into the Hyatt venue with claims they were media and had made some arrangement to cover the event.

Being busy dealing with a few hundred paying guests, my colleagues had only followed up on this with me after the event.

I had forgotten all about that story until I read this magazine piece.

Now, I don’t want to be precious – I might get a reputation for that – but it seemed all a bit like odd behaviour from someone representing an established national newspaper.

Reporters might get credit for sneaking into some meeting of shareholders or creditors when the media is barred – all is fair if someone stands in the way of getting a good story to the public, right?

The thing is, we hadn’t stopped the media coming. Not that Dr Wood is inaccessible anyway. She has recognised the value of the media in getting the message out about the value of her burns research and the funding the program needs.

And, don’t forget, many events managers offer the media a free seat in the hope of generating a bit of interest in what they do – the unwritten rule is that the reporter at least acknowledges what the function was, be it the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Securities Institute of Australia or the Australian Institute of Company Directors – to name some of the more well-known operators in this field.

It is just common courtesy, in my opinion.

Anyway, after two years of editing this newspaper, I guess I should not be surprised that the mighty Weekend Australian newspaper feels it needs to sneak past our tight security (a desk with name tags) to get the full story of the behind-the-scenes goings-on at some mysterious WA “business breakfast”.

Or maybe Rupert Murdoch just doesn’t have the budget?

At least Dr Wood received the recognition she has earned, and I am glad of the small part we played in helping her very deserving cause.

 

Recalcitrant

 

NOW if you want me to be truly precious, then it is time to talk about that recalcitrant bad neighbour Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

I’ve spent enough time in his country, with its truly racist laws that ensure the indigenous Malaysian majority get a cut on every major business operation, whether they deserve it or not, to develop a distaste for his idea of democracy.

So when he embarks on a diatribe against Westerners as he did this week, I reckon it would all be a good laugh if he didn’t actually run a whole country – no matter how far down the food chain it is.

The best thing for Malaysia will be his retirement, which I gather is imminent.

 

Joe Poprzeczny never forgets

 

CONGRATULATIONS to our political columnist Joe Poprzeczny for completing what every journalist tells themselves they can do – a book. Far from a racy novel with barely disguised players on the local political scene, Mr Poprzeczny has delved into a dark piece of history from his native Poland.

He has produced a biography of SS-Brigadeführer Odilo Globocnik, one of the key players in the Nazi death camps and a little known figure who had, it appears, escaped the attention of historians – until now that is.

Mr Poprzeczny said that Globocnik attracted his interest more than a decade ago and the lack of any comprehensive biography had spurred him to delve deeper – a level of doggedness that WA’s politicians should take heed of.

According to our State Scene columnist: "Globocnik is the Nazi that history forgot, despite him being THE major mass killer of World War II and arguably the biggest robber of the 20th century."

US-based McFarland Publishers of the United States has already been advertising the book Odilo Globocnik: Hitler's Man in the East on its website www.mcfarlandpub.com and through www.amazon.com

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